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Ask the rabbi Family and Society Conversion

Jewish Belonging - - -

Rabbi Jonathan Blass24 Kislev 5764
390
Question
Dear Rabbi, My first name and family name are of Jewish origin and as far as I can look back in time, I have always felt attachment and belonging to the nation of Israël. My parents do not seem curious about this but my feelings are becoming stronger and painful with time. A genealogy research could lead to a negative result, which would be painful and destructive for me. A positive result would be incredibly wonderful but it would also show me clearly how "unpure" I’m. Should I keep on living with this "question" and do my best to sanctify myself with G-d.’s help or should I go through this genealogy research, no matter what the results will be? I thank you in advance for taking some of your time to share a thought with me.
Answer
Jewish national affiliation is matrilineal; in other words if your mother is Jewish- so are you, whether or not your father was Jewish. Therefore, your family name, passed to you from your father and to him from his father is no indication of your Jewishness. If you want to be Jewish, learn more about Judaism through reading or discussing the matter with an Orthodox rabbi. It is not who your fathers were that counts, but rather who you are.
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